Garland Says Goodbye to SWAC Tournament

Basketball tournament to move to another city after three years

By Tammy Mutasa
|  Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013  |  Updated 7:01 PM CDT
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Garland Says Goodbye to SWAC Tournament

AP

Organizers say the tournament moves around to give other cities a chance for exposure and to balance out travel distances for athletes.

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The city of Garland is hosting the Southwestern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament for the last time.

The conference, which is made up of historically black colleges and universities, will hold the tournament at the Curtis Culwell Center for the third time.

"We would love to host the tournament forever," said John Wilborn, the center's director. "We would love to be the permanent home for the SWAC tournament."

Organizers say the tournament moves around to give other cities a chance for exposure and to balance out travel distances for athletes.

The tournament is considered a slam dunk for the city. Hotels and restaurants in the Metroplex and the local economy have raked in at least $8 million, Wilborn said.

"We're thrilled to have gotten the SWAC tournament the last three years. ... It always falls in March, which can be a slower month due to spring breaks throughout the country," said Jennifer Rochat with the Hyatt Place Garland.

Basketball teams will head to head, trying to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Organizers expect 30,000 people, more than last year's 26,000 people.

There is also a college expo on Thursday and a step show. At last year's college expo, students received more than $165,000 in scholarships.

"We're looking at Grambling and a lot of other colleges while we're here and just getting a good look before May before we graduate," said student Mikia Rich, who drove seven hours from Mississippi.

Organizers said they are sad to see the tournament dribble out of Garland but said it could come back again.

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